Vir Das’s ‘I come from 2 Indias’ performance stirs row in India

“I come from an India where we worship women during the day and gang-rape them during the night," Vir Das says in his video.

Indian stand-up comedian Vir Das has become the centre of discussion on social media after he posted the video of his show filmed at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington DC.

The video has kicked a storm in India with many accusing him of defaming the country abroad and demanding strict action against the comedian.

In the six-minute video, titled “I come from two Indias”, Das discusses how he comes from two different Indias and goes ahead with contrasting examples relevant to the country. For instance, hinting at the farmers’ who were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri, Das says, “I come from an India where people pride themselves in being vegetarians but will run over the farmers who grow the vegetables.”

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He further discusses the rise in crimes against women and how his country “worships goddesses during the day and gang-rapes women at night.”

“I come from an India where we bleed blue every time we play green. But every time we lose to green we turn orange all of a sudden,” discussing the public outrage the Indian cricket team was subjected to recently. In the same vein, he discusses the demise of journalism, rise in fuel prices, army pensions and other pertinent social issues.

The backlash against Vir Das

While the show received some applause, many popular voices vocalised their criticism of Das’s “Two Indias.” In fact, Delhi BJP vice president Aditya Jha and Mumbai lawyer Ashutosh J Dubey went to the police with their complaints. While Jha alleged that Das made “derogatory” statements at an international platform with an intention to malign the country’s image, Dubey also held him responsible for defaming & spoiling the image of India in the USA, which is inflammatory. No FIRs have been filed against Das as of now.

Indian conservative film-maker Ashoke Pandit called Das a terrorist who is “waging war on India from a foreign land” and subsequently called for Das to be arrested under the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

CEO of Jan ki Baat, a “public opinion technology company”, Pradeep Bhandari accused Das of insulting India and Hindus and further said Das was linking crime to Sanatan Dharma.

Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi also took umbrage to Das’s performance and remarked that “the evils of a few individuals should not equate vilfying the entire nation.”

However, some prominent politicians and journalists came out in support of Vir Das and defended the performer’s right to free speech.

Below are some statements from the supporters:

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